I drifted in and out of sleep most of the night, the train was a lot bumpier when you tried to sleep that it was when wake. I woke up to see the sun rising and had a few mild panics that we had missed our stop. I lay awake and finished my book, the fastest I've ever read a book, Shannon couldn't believe me when he woke a few hours later. He also commented that this train journey was the best he's experienced.
Hopped off the train and found a taxi outside. We were going to drop our bags off at the shop where the bus to Hoi An would pick us up, the driver asked if because we only had a few hours we would like a tour of Hue at the cost of $20 (don't know if I mentioned before, as well as the Vietnamese Dong, they love the US dollar.) We probably could have asked for it cheaper but we were happy and it would save us hassle and we could keep cool in his car rather than pound the humid streets. Just as well we had him or we couldn't have seen everything in time.
First we visited one of 'Vietnams treasures', the former imperial city. The Citadel which was massive and is currently being restored as most of it was blown up like everything by the Americans. The site was very impressive and although we have seen similar I was interested to see men hard at work reconstruction of the buildings. We watched a short film showing what the citadel would look like once again once reconstruction has been completed.
Then we jumped in the taxi to Vietnams most iconic Pagoda, the Thien Mu Pagoda on the banks of the Perfume river, 4km from the Citadel.
After we visited the Tomb of Tu Duc, the burial site of one of the Emperors, it was set amongst shaded trees and a large lake. The emperors wife was also buried here and we were interested to see her tomb was larger than his.
Then he drove us back to the shop for the bus, I was in a panic because we had to be back for 1300 and it was almost that time, Shan kept telling me now to be silly and that we would make it. He of course was right. The bus arrived 10 minutes later and wowee it was super cool, it was 3 rows across of bunk bed styled reclining leather seats. We both chose top bunks so we had the much needed air conditioning and it was great for gazing out the window.
The views we passed were something else. We seen cows wandering the dusty roads, beaches, lush green mountains, passed through a massive tunnel, seen up and coming towns emerging, watched as the city of Danang came into view and looked adoringly at it as we passed by its small fishing boats bobbing in the water and the tall buildings sprouting up, it's palm trees lining the beach and manicured bushes and trees lining the road.
The bus journey to Hoi An took 3hr 40 but to be honest it was so comfy we would've been fine if it was longer.
More Vietnam blogs here!